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IDI Swapping a Bronco or F-Series (And auto to standard info)

Discussion in 'IDI Tech Article' started by abeemanator, Mar 26, 2016.

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  1. abeemanator

    abeemanator Registered User

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    So there is one question that I see asked alot on Facebook posts and on forums and that is "How hard would it be to swap a IDI into my Gas powered rig." These people are often misguided by people who think they know what it takes to do so, but have not done it, they make it seem harder than it should. If you have ever read up on a 6.9/7.3 IDI you will see very clearly that Ford wanted this engine designed to Fit in place of a gasoline engine , people seem to miss that statement very often. Ive seen people go as far as saying the frame of a Bronco/F150 is not strong enough to hold up to the weight and torque of a IDI. Lets do a little research here.
    First, auto manufacturers want to build and design everything as low cost as possible,They see it as, if they save a dollar on a part, and 2.5 million of them are made, they have a total savings of $2.5 million. Ford did not intentionally design a weaker frame for the Bronco/F150 trucks than the 250/350, to do so they would've needed new tooling, equipment and parts from the truck bodies to adapt to the larger measurements of the larger frames, from my resarch of measuring thickness of my Bronco and both my HD 84 and HD 87, there is absolutley no difference, the F150/Bronco frames actually have the mounting provisions already drilled on the frame for a diesel.
    Second there is a concern that "You must change to at least a Dana 50 or 60 for a diesel a 44 wont hold up, and a 8.8" or 9" rear wont hold up to this diesel, especially if off roading" I actually can prove them wrong, almost 10k miles on my IDI Bronco I have had ZERO problems with either one, off roading they will hold up and on road they do great, But if you are thinking of towing... then why are you doing this swap? First hand experience a Bronco is HORRIBLE to tow any big trailer, my 22ft car hauler almost whipped my Bronco into a frenzy both empty and with 7800 lbs on it (my donor 84) If your like me you want Uniqueness and to get away from a poor mpg 5.0 or 5.8.
    Third is people think you need to add on to the frame to mount up a IDI and that the existing drive lines are too short, or too long and That the trans crossmember wont work. That is a myth, like Ford wanted, this motor was supposed to be built Fit in place of a gasoline engine. I had no problems what so ever as far as cross members, drive line lengths or any other obscure weird things like that. Hell I used the AOD crossmember for my c6 and my T19.
    Fourth "Gas tanks wont work because diesel will eat the coating off of the inside of the tank or rubber fuel lines. " Im not a fuel tank expert, but will tell you that I have not noticed any deposits or corrosion of my fuel tank, mine is a brand new Cardone fuel tank because the other tank rusted out. The rubber line thing is a joke, but I infact saw that exact same thing written on a Facebook post
    Last but not least, "The frame wont hold up to the torque of an IDI" Wrong, no problems at all, look at the rated HP and TQ for the V8s offered in the Bronco in the 80-97 years and all the IDIs.
    5.0, 185HP/270Ft Lb,
    5.8, 205HP/330Ft-Lb,
    6.9 170HP/338 Ft- Lb
    7.3 N/A 185HP/338 Ft-Lb
    7.3 Turbo 190HP/388 Ft-Lb

    So let me get this right, I am going to destroy my frame and Drivetrain with 8 Ft-Lb more torque over a 5.8? Even if its a Turbo 7.3 58 Ft-Lb? I don't Buy that one bit..
    The concern of ride height with F150/Bronco Springs... Yes, I lost 1"-1.5" of ride height and will be experimenting with F250 2wd and F150 2wd springs to see if I can manage to fix that

    Ok so lets get started. You've decided to IDI swap, Good choice, they run great, get good mpg, are generally easy to fix and are cheap. So I started with a 1990 5.0 AOD Eddie Bauer Bronco, had a good running 5.0 and actually did very well pulling my parts truck 350 miles from where I picked it up, climing two mountain passes (It liked 2nd gear 3300 rpm, 30-35 mph) one was a 7% grade for like 7 or 8 miles and the second was 4 miles at 7%. Anyway my original plan with this was to diesel swap it all along. Now i cant say I did everything all myself Justin Anderson from R&D has done a swap like it and he helped when I had questions.
    I recommend finding a parts truck, good engine, good tranny, your original T Case is your best bet, I tried a diesel T case and had a problem with the Double Cardian yoke to bolt to it, to stay simple, stay the same, I had push button 4x4 and got a manual T case from a 88 Bronco, works great. Also i couldnt break the exhaust manifold bolts from the diesel, so i just cut the pipe by the t case and left it at that and welded a new pipe on when i was done.
    Parts list: What you want from your donor is, The complete engine from air cleaner to drain plug, fan to flywheel. the frame mounted motor mounts, as much as the wiring harness from the engine you want to keep ( You can try just unbolting the big round bulkhead from the donor and use it if you are running a 87-91 F150, a Bronco wont work without alot of hacking to the plug to make it work), the tranny, the warning lights and insturment cluster are something you may choose to keep (I used my stuff from a 87 parts truck I bought) The Vaccum lines and vacuum log, all the fender mounted acessories, the 84 I had was the Regulator, Vaccum Ball, Glow plug relay. ect. on the drivers fender you want to grab the battery box, overflow and windsheild washer tank, (Dont worry, Ford already pre drilled everthing to bolt these in)
    One thing I strongly reccomend is using a Diesel core support and radiator, Some people will argue and tell you that oh no a gas radiator will keep up. Haha, no it wont, I topped 265 one day (Hot enough that the temp warning light came on) with a aluminum gas radiator and it would not cool down no matter how fast i could go. With the diesel radiator, I have had no issues with it overheating even with the A/C on high on 100 + Deg day. Yes you must use a diesel core support, a diesel radiator simply wont fit, using a diesel core support will require modifying the sway bar brackets or removing it, thats your choice.
    Frame mounted motor mounts, i dont know what else to call them, will be needed if If I remember correctly they simply unbolt from the frame, the gas ones will need to be taken off of the gas frame, it If I remember right one side has bolts the other is rivets that you will need to cut off.
    Remove your gas engine, trans and T-Case, along with the trans crossmember Unplug the engine plugs from the fender, dont cut them, you look like a moron if/when you decide to sell the engine, when the EFI plugs are missing, to simplify things remove the hood, Discharge the A/C if you have it drain the water, and pull the core support off. I removed the front clip from the 84 when I pulled the diesel to make it easy, and just took the core support off the bronco to make it easy to pop in (I didn't end up swapping to a diesel core support until I smashed the front end in after I hit a cow in the rain). There is absolutly no need to remove the tranny from the engine, one piece it out, along with the t case to make things simple.
    Now the gas engine is out, now is time to clean the engine bay and make everything look pretty lol. Im not sure how a older carbed engine works but when swapping to a diesel you will find a problem, the fuel pump is on the pass side, while the fuel lines are on the left, what I did is since the charcoal canister is removed, I used the tank vent tube as the fuel pickup tube, and while my tank was out to pull the EFI pump and drop a pickup tube in i simply swapped the vent to the pickup line and used a normal hose clamp to keep it on, and just plugged the extra line.
    Prepping the engine for installation is the most difficult although its not bad at all, as long as all the gas tank is drained and you've pulled and removed the in tank pump (If its EFI) as I described in the previous paragraph you should be almost ready to go, now remove both gas engine frame mounts, and install the diesel, this is the big issue right here, you will notice the passenger side diesel mount bolts right in place, no problem at all, but the Drivers side the TTB crossmember is cut very large for access to the oil filter, you can either weld a plate in place for the mount, or just run the 3 bolts like I did, and it'll work out ok, thats your choice. Also while both engines are sitting out test to make sure your rear driveline yoke will bolt to the diesel t case, if not just undo the 6 bolts and swap it around, easy as pie ,if its an auto lift the assembly up a foot or two and it should keep your tranny fluid from dumping everywhere
    Engine install is pretty stright forward although I found it neccesary to unbolt a couple of the bronco body bolts and lift it a couple inches, just work the engine in nice and slow and keep a look out for random little lines and pieces in the way, lower it in, let it rest, jack up the trans and put your crossmember in. And begin what you would do on any other motor swap.
    If you chose not to run the diesel radiator you will have a big problem with routing your hoses and hooking the radiator up, if you got the diesel core support, everything will straight hook up line if it were meant to be. install the battery box, tanks, and the fender mounted electronics on the other side.
    Wiring isnt bad, besides I don't remember how I hooked up the Alt Regulator, but a google search and a test light will help you out here. I decided to pull my harness apart and wire it so the wires ran over to the drivers side, if you pulled the engine from a similar body style truck that the plugs will simply plug into the efi plugs, but this is a part I havent been able to fully confirm that it will work because my engine was an 84 into a 90, so I had to cut and splice wire. for the temp gauge, Ignition 12v, oil pressure and my wait to start light, . The older glow plug relay is pretty easy to hook up get the hot positive from the battery, make sure its grounded, and make sure the control wire is hooked up to the 12 v ignition source and it should automatically kick on and work. Sorry im very vauge in this area as I didn't take the time to take pics and notes on what I hooked up and how, I did have both the gas and diesel wiring schematics at hand and used them to hook up everything. Having a decent knowledge of electricity is something you want here.
    Now Finally its time to bleed the fuel system and fire your new IDI powered Bronco/F150 up (Or Converted 250/350) and take her out for a spin. Unless you happend to trans swap from an auto or standard. This is a part i dont mind adding because I toasted the diesel c6 and swapped to gas. If you do a trans swap its very easy, From a auto to standard a donor truck is recommended. You will need to grab the intechangable doghouse (Lift the carpet up and look under it there is a large plate that unbolts), drop the column and remove it and pull the pedal assembly with it also grab the master, hose, and slave cylinder, when putting it in an auto truck, swap the pans on the floor, swap columns (Not really required, the auto one will work fine), the pedal assembly, bolt up the master, route the hose, hook up the slave and bleed it, you should now have a fully working 4 speed.
    I will include pictures of the engine swap, If there are any more questions or suggestions just ask me :) Good luck on your swap.

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    The Donor Coming Home

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    The Donor 84 after I fired it up

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    The 6.9

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    The Front Clip is Outta Here lol

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    The Gaping hole, this is how she sits now

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    The Engine Trans and T Case awaiting its Installation

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    See YA later 5 Blow

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    THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TRY TO PUT THE MOTOR IN PLACE WITH THE GASSER MOUNTS STILL THERE !!

    THESE NEXT PHOTOS SHOW COMPARISONS OF THE GAS MOUNTS AND DIESEL, THE DIESEL ONES SIT ON THE CROSSMEMBER THE GAS SIT BEHIND THE CROSSMEBER
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    Bubba84 likes this.
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